Fewer petitions for H1-B visa this year
ALLEN E KAYE
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services continues
to accept H-1B nonimmigrant petitions subject to the fiscal
year 2011 cap.
USCIS has received approximately 27,300 H-1B petitions
counting toward the 65,000 cap, as of July 30. The agency has
received approximately 11,600 petitions for individuals with
advanced degrees, by the same date.
The H1-B visa seems to have lost much of its glitter as the
number of applicants has come down drastically this year; also
it has not attracted as much publicity as in the past.
Four months have passed since the USCIS started to receive
the applications beginning April 1 for the next fiscal year (FY
2011) starting in October.
These numbers are even less than the USCIS received last
year when the economy was in a much worse situation, experts
noted. Last year it reached cap in December. This year, if the
cap will be met is an open question.
In 2008, within the first five days of filing, USCIS had
received about 131,800 petitions against the general quota and
31,200 against the advanced degree quota.
US businesses use the H-1B program to employ foreign
workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or
technical expertise in fields, such as scientists, engineers, or
US suspends processing new Nepal adoption cases
based on abandonment: The Department of State and
USCIS have decided to suspend processing of new adoption
cases from Nepal that involve children who are claimed to have
been found abandoned, because documents presented in support of the abandonment of these children in Nepal have been
found to be unreliable and circumstances of alleged abandonment cannot be verified because of obstacles in the investigation of individual cases.
A review of recently processed cases established a disturbing
pattern indicating that available documentation cannot be
relied upon to make determinations that a child reported
abandoned qualifies as an orphan under US immigration law.
The suspension, which became effective on August 6, applies only
to cases where a child is alleged to have been found abandoned.
The suspension applies to cases in which the government of
Nepal has not issued an official referral letter to prospective
adoptive parents to propose a match with a specific child from
Nepal who has been reported abandoned. If the government of
Nepal has issued the referral letter prior to August 6, 2010, the
case will be considered in the pipeline of existing cases and will
continue to be processed. If no such referral letter has been
issued prior to August 6, 2010, the case will be suspended.
The Department of State’s ongoing interactions with the government of Nepal and the review of numerous cases, including
field visits to orphanages and police stations, led it to conclude
that information regarding how children arrive at orphanages
is consistently inadequate and that documents presented to
establish that a child was found abandoned are unreliable.
Investigations of abandonment cases have been hampered by
the unavailability of officials involved in reports of abandonment, and police and orphanage officials’ refusals to allow consular officers access to police and orphanage records.
Q: Will there be any exceptions to the suspension?
A: No. Prospective adoptive parents who the government of
Nepal has matched with a child reported abandoned after August
6, 2010, will not receive a decision on a petition for that child.
Q: Are there any cases in Nepal that do not involve children
A: Not at the present time. However, in the case of a relinquishment by known birth parent(s), the application would be
processed under normal procedures. DNA evidence may be
necessary to establish the relationship between the birth parent(s) and child.
Q: When will adoptions from Nepal resume?
A: We are unable to predict when adoptions involving children who are reported abandoned in Nepal will be able to
resume. We encourage the government of Nepal to implement
sufficient protections to ensure the integrity of the intercoun-try adoption process.
Q: What will happen to families who are already matched
with a child from Nepal?
A: The suspension applies to abandonment cases in which
the prospective adoptive parents have not yet been matched
with a child from Nepal. The government of Nepal’s Ministry
of Women, Children and Social Welfare issues an official
‘referral letter’ to inform prospective adoptive parents of a proposed match. If the government of Nepal has issued the official referral letter prior to August 6, 2010, the case will be
processed to conclusion. In light of concerns regarding the
validity of documents supporting abandonment cases in Nepal,
the cases will be carefully investigated and only those in which
there is sufficient credible evidence to conclude a child has
been found abandoned will be approved.
If consular officials at the US Embassy in Kathmandu determine that a case is not clearly approvable, they are required to
forward the Form I-600, Petition to Classify an Orphan as an
Immediate Relative, to the USCIS office in New Delhi for
review. USCIS and the Department of State will process each
case individually, based on the evidence presented and the
results of the investigation.
Q: How many cases are in the “‘pipeline?’
A: Based on information provided by the government of
Nepal, we estimate that there are approximately 80 cases in
which US families have been matched with a child in Nepal,
but in which the Form I-600 petition has not been adjudicated
or a visa has not been issued.
Q: Can a family that has begun the process of adopting in
Nepal decide to adopt a child from a different country now?
A: Yes. If prospective adoptive parents have already filed or
received approval of a Form I-600A, Application for Advance
Processing of an Orphan Petition, that specifies Nepal as the
country from which they intend to adopt, they are permitted to
request one no-fee change of country. If the prospective adoptive parents have already filed a Form I-600 on behalf of a
Nepali child, they may withdraw the petition. Upon withdrawal of the petition, the prospective adoptive parents may request
a change of country and file another Form I-600 petition on
behalf of a different child, as long as their Form I-600A
approval remains valid.
Q: What are other countries that process adoptions of
Nepali orphans doing?
A: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel,
Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United
Kingdom have recently suspended adoptions in Nepal based
on similar concerns.
Editor’s Note: Allen E Kaye is an attorney who has practiced
United States immigration, naturalization, visa and consular law
in New York City for the past 30 years. He is a graduate of
Queens College (CUNY) (BA), Columbia University Law School
(JD) and New York University Law School (LLM).
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